Monday, April 28, 2008

To Serve and Protect...

...and terrify.

Massachusetts Police Get Black Uniforms to Instill Sense of 'Fear'

[Springfield's] new police commissioner, William Fitchet, says members of the department's Street Crime Unit will again don black, military-style uniforms as part of his strategy to deal with youth violence.

Fitchet's predecessor, Edward Flynn, had ditched the black attire as part of an effort to soften the image of the unit. Flynn left Springfield in January to become the police chief in Milwaukee.

Sgt. John Delaney told a city council hearing Wednesday that the stark uniforms send a message to criminals that officers are serious about making arrests.

Delaney said a sense of "fear" has been missing for the past few years.

So much for "community policing".

Nice knowing you, Springfield.

UPDATE: Words to remember...

"When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty."

- Thomas Jefferson

Then again, this is Massachusetts we're talking about.

UPDATE II: I guess it all depends on one's definition of "respect". (Portland, ME) headline:

Police Don Military-Style Uniforms For Respect

And, from Radley Balko:

Why Not Just Shoot a Couple of People? That’ll Work, Too

Lastly, here's the Mission Statement from the Springfield Police Department:

To provide public safety and to contribute to the quality of life for the citizens of the City of Springfield by protecting, serving and working with the community to develop philosophies which promote equity and establish partnership between citizens and police to enhance law enforcement, aid in the prevention of crime, and preserve the public peace.

Looks like they've pretty much tossed that one in the hopper.